Matcha Tea: Welcome To The World of Green Tea
Matcha is a type of green tea. The matcha tea powder is made from young tea leaves ground into a fine powder. It is made from plants grown in the shade which produce matcha leaves. The name of the plant is Camellia sinensis.
Shade causes more chlorophyll to accumulate in the leaves, giving the leaves their vibrant green color and nutrient content. The match leaves are hand-picked. The stems and veins are removed with hands too.
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Traditionally, the leaves are ground into a powder by crushing them with granite stone. The grinding of leaves takes about an hour. The grinding process is done in the dark to protect the nutrients.
This ceremonial matcha vs culinary matcha article will help you to understand which type of matcha grade is suitable for your usage.
Ceremonial Matcha Vs Culinary Matcha: Matcha Grades
What Is Ceremonial Grade Matcha?
Ceremonial Grade Matcha is derived from the youngest tea leaves that contain higher levels of chlorophyll. Therefore, these are more vibrant and have a deeper shade of green. It is the highest quality grade of matcha.
As opposed to culinary grade matcha, ceremonial grade matcha tends to be more nuanced and subtle. Typically, ceremonial grade matcha is designed to be used in a traditional tea ceremony.
What Is Culinary Grade Matcha?
Since it is made from tea leaves that have been exposed to more sunlight, it has a more subdued shade of green. It is somewhat lower grade matcha than ceremonial matcha.
Usually less expensive, it can be thrown into lattes, smoothies, baked goods, and other recipes to enhance their taste. The flavor is bold and less nuanced, making it ideal for blending with other ingredients.
What’s The Difference Between Normal Green Tea And Matcha?
Although both matcha and green tea leaves are obtained from the same plant, the leaves are actually quite different from each other. From cultivation to preparation, there are quite a few differences between the two.
Matcha and green tea leaves vary on everything. This includes the process of cultivation, processing, and even the method of preparation. They two offer different health benefits and drinking experiences as well.
Matcha is one of many variations of green tea that fall under the umbrella of green tea, which includes many other types like sencha, kabusecha, gyokuro, tencha and hojicha.
Do you know the Kashmiri Kahwa-the saffron spiced green tea? Read out the article to know the Health benefits of Kashmiri kahwa.
How To Know Which Grade of Matcha is Best for You?
As I mentioned in the blog’s beginning, both Ceremonial Grade and Culinary Grade matcha have varied purposes and use cases. It completely depends on one’s personal choice of which grade of matcha they want to use, the purpose, the cuisine, etc. own enjoyment. A number of people drink culinary matcha in tea, while others won’t bake goods with anything but ceremonial matcha.
Swiss cheese vs American cheese and Best chocolate in the world: Swiss or Belgian chocolate is the same as making a choice between ceremonial vs culinary matcha.
How Do You Know If You’re Buying Culinary Or Ceremonial Grade Matcha Powder?
It’s not difficult to differentiate between culinary or ceremonial grade matcha powder as the label on the packet will have it mentioned. Read the label. The packet will have other important information too.
You’ll often find that matcha powders come with a list of possible uses like drinking, smoothies, lattes, baking, etc. If it specifically says baking, you’re probably getting something with culinary qualities. It is the best green tea powder for baking. Culinary grade is premium grade matcha.
Differences Between Culinary & Ceremonial Matcha
* Different Cultivars:
When cultivating tea plants, cultivars are bred to achieve desired characteristics such as the ability to withstand certain temperature variations/micro climates.
Color differences among cultivars include a deeper tone of green in Okumidoris’ leaves, to yellow tones in Samidori’s leaves. It is always a good idea to keep in mind the cultivar(s) used to make your matcha powder when assessing color.
In Japan, there are over 200 different varieties of matcha. As a result of its ability to flourish and survive in a variety of microclimates, Cultivar Yabukita makes up approximately 80% of all Japanese teas.
* Varying Harvesting Season:
The tea leaves/buds plucked for Ceremonial Grade Matcha are harvested during Ichibancha which means “first tea” or First Harvest season (from late April to May).
The tea leaves/buds plucked for Culinary Grade Matcha: are harvested during Nibancha which means “second tea” or Second Harvest season (from June to the end of July).
* Impact of Shade:
Ceremonial Grade Matcha is considered the finest quality one can consume. The high concentration of L-theanine in them is responsible for the natural sweetness of matcha. The flowers are found at the apex of the tea bush and are extremely delicate. Younger tea leaves have higher chlorophyll content which is responsible for the vibrant green color.
For Culinary Grade Matcha, the tea leaves plucked are older and are exposed to more sunlight which imparts a rich, bolder flavor. When culinary-grade matcha is prepared, the higher antioxidant concentration contributes to the bitter notes, and it still provides a beautiful color. It is considered as lower quality than Ceremonial Grade.
* Method of Filtering:
Ceremonial matcha powder contains only the softest part of the leaves. Therefore, they are sweet.
The harsh parts that may add a bitter taste like stems and veins are all eliminated. The harsher parts of the leaves can be found in culinary matcha powder.
* Method of Grinding:
Traditionally, ceremonial matcha is ground into a powder with a granite stone using hands. This process is slow and takes up to 1 hour to grind a small 15-20g tin of matcha powder.
Whereas in the case of Culinary matcha, the powder is made by pulverizing the tea leaves using metal balls in a big size machine.
* Amount of Caffeine Present:
Ceremonial grade matcha can contain around 32-34 mg of caffeine per gram.
Culinary grade matcha can contain around 30 mg caffeine per gram or half teaspoon served.
* Varying Cost:
This is one of the easiest ways to differentiate between the two. Culinary and ceremonial grade matcha has a GREAT price range. It is generally considered that the more expensive the matcha powder, the better it is.
A significant price drop has reduced the cost of matcha powder, making it a lot more affordable. Matcha powder of ceremonial grade can be two or three times more expensive than culinary grade.
On an average, you can purchase –
Ceremonial grade matcha for $0.75 to $1 per gram.
Culinary grade matcha for $0.25 to $0.50 per gram.
But you can always buy a mid-range ceremonial grade if you have a restricted budget.
* Know The Texture:
Culinary matcha is comparatively more flat and lumpy.
Ceremonial grade matcha is a more refined powder. In general, this makes it easier to whip and results in more foam.
* Color Differentiation:
In the culinary grade matcha powder, the color appears dull and is more yellow or brown in tone sometimes
On the other hand, ceremonial grade matcha has a bright and vibrant green color. It is generally believed that the brighter the green shade, the better the matcha.
* Taste Difference:
Culinary grade matcha has a comparatively bitter taste to it. This makes it difficult to enjoy as matcha is supposed to be simple with a small amount of water, much like an espresso.
Ceremonial grade matcha, on the contrary, has a very balancing and neutral taste to it. It is not overpowering, unlike culinary grade. Sometimes it can have a very mild sweet taste aftertaste.
* Ways To Use:
Although it may look like ceremonial grade matcha is better than culinary grade, that isn’t completely true. There are several factors like what you’re using the matcha powder for.
For instance, if you want to make traditional matcha using a whisk, ceremonial matcha will be the right choice. This grade of matcha is not only smoother/better to whisk but also easy to drink on its own.
The culinary grade matcha powder is a better choice for baking, mixing drinks, etc. Using expensive ceremonial grade matcha in smoothies, lattes or baked goods is not something a majority of people would go with, right?
It is important to note that culinary-grade matcha isn’t just used for cooking because it’s cheaper, it’s also because the flavor is so much stronger. When ceremonial grade matcha is added to anything, its taste kind of gets lost.
* How Organic and Non-Organic Farming Methods Affect:
There will be a slight difference in green color and taste between organic and non-organic matcha in comparable grades. This elevates the natural sweetness of the tencha tea leaves and provides them with their green color after being shade-grown for several months. Matcha tea leaves yield high levels of Chlorophyll and amino acids (L-Theanine).
Due to matcha tea leaves being unable to get energy from the sun, they must find it elsewhere, usually from fertilizers. It takes over 3 months for organic fertilizers to take effect which is ideal from a health perspective.
As opposed to synthetic fertilizers, organic fertilizers don’t provide the plants with the energy to produce their maximum levels of chlorophyll and amino acids. The bottom line, however, is that organically grown tea is better for both the environment and us consumers.
Tools Needed To Make Koicha: Koicha In Japanese
Bamboo whisks are really helping and do a wonderful job at breaking up the fine clumps of matcha. It helps in achieving a frothy finish and making matcha koicha, koicha green tea, koicha tea, koicha matcha milk, koicha latte, etc.
A bamboo scoop is an authentic way to measure matcha for brewing. It is extremely helpful in measuring out matcha efficiently when trying out a koicha recipe.
This tea bowl is smooth to the touch and easy to pick up which makes it ideal for sipping.
This will help you achieve a decent froth without damaging the prongs on the whisk. If you are fond of the koicha menu and making it at home, this will be extremely useful.
If you don’t have access to a traditional bamboo whisk, go for this. It really does the work faster and better without making much mess.
Matcha Always Sold In Small Quantities. But Why?
The matcha powder is made from green tea leaves and the green tea leaves aren’t oxidized.
In the same way as green tea, matcha should be consumed fresh whenever possible because matcha has a short shelf life. Matcha powder shouldn’t be purchased in large quantities due to this reason. There’s no way you can finish a bulk package before some of the freshness has worn off.
Benefits of Culinary & Ceremonial Matcha
Both the culinary and ceremonial matcha is healthy. The healthy sides are discussed below –
- Caffeine with l-theanine provides a stable and extended boost of energy.
- It fortifies the immune system which protects the body from the invasion and growth of viruses and bacteria.
- Including matcha green tea into your regular diet may greatly lower your risk of having a stroke or heart attack.
- Matcha has a high level of antioxidants and powerful detoxifying properties.
- Matcha powder has several anti-inflammatory properties also.
- Matcha is really good for oral hygiene. If it is consumed on a regular basis it will help in preventing plaque build-up and inhibiting bacteria.
- Matcha has significantly helped in achieving healthy skin.
- Matcha tea leaves are rich in VITAMIN A (CAROTENE), VITAMIN B1 (THIAMINE), VITAMIN B2 (RIBOFLAVIN), VITAMIN B3 (NIACIN), VITAMIN C, VITAMIN F (FLUORINE), VITAMIN P (FLAVONOIDS)
- People who drink Matcha tea on a regular basis have shown low levels of bad cholesterol.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Which is healthier? Ceremonial grade matcha or culinary grade matcha?
Both ceremonial and culinary grade matcha is good. As for the health benefits, there’s not much difference between the two. The main differences are their flavor and how they’re prepared.
2. Does matcha have caffeine?
Yes, the caffeine content in a typical cup of matcha is 39–175 mg.
3. What is the best way to store matcha to retain maximum freshness?
Store it in the freezer or in an airtight container or a ziplock bag. To retain maximum freshness, keep it away from sunlight, preferably in a cool place away from heat and humidity. Always buy in a small amount.
Hoping that towards the end of this blog post, your doubts about high-quality matcha and pure matcha powder are clear now.
From matcha syrup, and matcha chai, to green foods matcha, the wonderful matcha adds flavor to your dish.
Both these types have pros and cons but that entirely depends on your intention of how you want to use it.